Interview with bodyboarding's Mitch 'Rawlines' Rawlins..
Interview With Bodyboarding's Mitch Rawlins
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 24 June, 2006 : - - MR, rawlines, the rock dog – Mitch Rawlins; let’s face it, any bodyboarder out there would love to have a riding style like Rawlins. He has such a graceful smooth approach to his surfing yet it is raw and powerful at the same time – the man just oozes perfection in everything he does on the boogie.
He makes average waves look good; he makes powerful waves look soft and impossible tube time look easy. Everything is second nature to him. He is a quite reserved in status often standing aside to soak in all the info he needs. He was nurtured by the world’s best bodyboarder at an early stage of his career – now he is regarded as the best in the world.
You have been on the Riptide experiment the past few weeks, how has it been! Who have you been travelling with and where did you go!
Well it has been quite a successful trip. We were based in Margaret River and for nine days it was perfectly offshore and the waves did not drop below 6ft. We were mainly just surfing the Box where Matt Lackey, who I was on the trip with was surfing really well out there as with everywhere we surfed.
You featured in Riptide issue 150 on the front cover out at Shipsterns in one of the biggest barrels ever. You seemed to be pretty prepared for that day. How did that adventure get of the ground! Where you expecting the waves to be that big!!
I was talking to Woody (Billabong team Manager) about a year ago and I was saying that I would be interested in doing some serious adventure trips that the surfers have been doing which is finding new waves or going after monster barrels so Woody knew that I was keen and when he knew that there was a swell going down there and that a trip was in the pipeline he ask if I was up for it.
I was booking the flight as I was speaking to him as I knew the waves would be big and that it could be a really satisfying trip if we scored.
You seemed to get a fair share of tube time that day. Did you take any heavy wipeouts during the season? What’s the go with the wave setup in the event of copping a few 12-15 footers on the head considering it’s a long way from the nearest settlement?
Well the best way I can put it is that it is a huge version of the Box in Margaret River. The wave comes out of very deep water and throws one of the heaviest warping stepping wrapping barrels the ocean can conj our up. All in front of you are rocks no further away then your nearest MacDonald’s restaurant, the cliffs are right there so to say. It can be pretty heavy if something went wrong.
Mitch Rawlins : photo Cronulla Shark Island Challenge
Talking about wipeouts - What's your worst experience to date?
Well I was towing the other day with Chris White and I got really winded a couple of times but nothing major as of late, other than that my worst experience to date would be braking my collarbone at Uluwatu in Bali and having to climb up 300 steps then a bumpy cab ride back to Kuta to the nearest hospital where the doctor said he would be able to operate on me in 30mins.
I swiftly told him no and boarded the next flight home to see a qualified doctor who told me that they do not operate on broken collarbones anymore and have not since the 80's. Thanks doc
Your win at the Rockstar Games Honolua Bay Pro was well over due – how was the feeling of finally taking out an International event and bearing in mind that you were then in the race for a world title!
It was very nice to win that event. I think it is a world class wave and a very fair wave to be judged on being that all the waves that roll into the bay are very similar and it was a very nice feeling to be leading the title race into the last event I hope I can do it this year more then ever.
The pressure that would have been on you during the Rockstar Games Pipeline Pro would have been immense. You needed to win that event to clinch your first world title – what was the vibe during the earlier rounds to when you where in the final with other title contenders being Damian King and Ben Player.
I actually think I was too relaxed for me to perform at my best. I need to be a little bit pissed of about the way things are going whether it be with my surfing or something totally different. I need a certain amount of tension to perform.
We will go back a few years now - Can you remember your first CSIC event – do you remember the call up, what was your reaction to being chosen and how did you go!
Yeah Christian “Rissole” Riguccini won the event. He snaked me on the wave that won him the contest, well actually, I think he just paddled deeper where I paddled for the shoulder my mistake, but a great feeling to be in the event and all the groms in this years island event must be stoked knowing that it is the biggest event in bodyboarding at the moment and all the big names want to win it so bad.
It is a big event to be part of and you don't want to miss a thing when you there watching the event It’s like the world cup of bodyboarding.
It seems that you always pull up a little short when it comes to the CSIC event – what has stopped you in the past from winning besides the better man so to say. Has it been preparation, nerves or lack of wave knowledge!
Well I don't have an excuse. I don't know what it is but every year I have high expectations and this year I have none I just go to surf and not worry about results they will sort themselves out
With the Shipsterns season firmly under the belt you seemed to have had already your fair share of solid right hand wave action, what other preparation have you been doing for this years CSIC.
Not too much. I will think about it after this interview
There are a few fresh faces that have made the main event from the trials, three of them coming from Queensland (Nick Ormerod / Corey McLean and Thomas Robinson) which is a surprise – I say that in a good way as there are many a good bodyboarder from North of the NSW boarder.
What I am trying to get across is being a Queenslander yourself have you ever felt that it has been a disadvantage especially when it comes down to surfing heavy reef breaks considering that there isn’t that many decent solid reef breaks in Queensland.
Yes, but then you travel and you go too all the places and get more confident. I mean look at Kelly Slater or Kingy - no reefs in site in the towns they came from, an outside opinion it may look like a disadvantage but in my opinion I have preferred to start on beach breaks it makes surfing on reefs so much more exciting
Mitch Rawlins : photo Veage
Current IBA world champion Ben Player will be a marked man for this first International event for 2006, is Ben a threat to you? Who do you consider the toughest opposition for this year's event?
If he is in my heat then he is a threat - I think everyone is a threat
Your peers and the bodyboarding public consider you as the best bodyboarder in the world at present. Being the best in the world at anything is a hard job, you have to always be on top whether it is competition / free surfing / keeping up with board shapes and material technology not to mention plenty of physical and metal training.
Have you made a goal to achieve this feat and if so what steps did you make in place to achieve it!
Mate I have done everything to become a better bodyboarder but the past 2 years I have back off on doing a lot of things which do help me get better, so there is improvements that I need to take care of to get me where I want to go
You have been a pro bodyboarder since your early teens, what are some highlights of the pro life? What would you rate as being one of your best experiences!
First year in Hawaii was a real eye opener. I loved every second of it; it could not have had a better trip. It was so fun. If I was not surfing Pipe all day I was at Off the Wall, if I was not there I was at Keiki bodysurfing into closeouts or skimboarding at Waimea and if I was not surfing I was eating all the new lollies that I had never seen before and with all the best bodyboarders over there its just action, action, action.
What bodyboarder on or off the tour do you have the most respect for today, and for what reason?
Brad Hughes surfs really well in the small stuff as well as the big. He works his ass off plastering and he’s just a good honest bloke
Describe your perfect day.
I would just surf all day. I wouldn’t care what it is like, that’s how I feel at the moment other than that I would really enjoy a good night out and getting on the jet ski's and having fun.
What do you do when it’s flat!
Well I just bought a house in Perth which is proving to be a full time job so most of my time is spent on handling that place, fairly boring hey but you have to look after your place if you leave it for a day and shit just builds up and it gets out of hand. I need a maid!
What’s one place on Earth that you've never surfed, but are dying to?
I want to tow in’s in Tahiti, that’s what I want to do. Just imagine a 15ft glassy perfection and towing in with all that speed and backdoring that huge section. I don’t think there is a bigger rush out there, maybe Cyclops which would be good to get that on. For fun I would really like to go to Cloud Nine in the Philippines.
What’s planned after the CSIC for Mitch Rawlins! What do you hope to achieve for this year on tour? What events will you target / any surf trips planned.
Well my main focus besides the tour is to get my video out and it should be out on the 13th of December and I really want to impress people with it, it means a lot to me. I want to capture a lot more footage, exclusive footage which no one has seen so it is fresh and new for everyone to view that’s all I will say.
Cronulla Shark Island Challange Update: The heat draw and a detailed swell forecast for the first week window will be issued at the start of the waiting period – 27th of June. There have been a few unexpected withdrawals so expect a few surprises come next press release. $20,000 first prize up for grabs - Who will be stuffing there pockets full of cash!
Bodyboard News - Surfersvillage